|Why We Need a U.S.-Based Feminist Anti-Militarism Movement|
“We have leadership development schools for our children because they will decide if they will participate in these wars or not,” said Claudia Castellenos, a human rights lawyer from Popular Feminine Organization Against the War and for Peace in Colombia.
Claudia was among three GFW grantees who we supported to attend the U.S. Social Forum (USSF) in Detroit, where over 15,000 activists participated in 1,000 self-organized workshops on building social change and movements in the U.S. The motto of the World Social Forum is “Another World is Possible,” whereas the USSF motto is, “But Another U.S. is Necessary.”
The Global Fund for Women has an initiative Reclaiming Peace and Genuine Security, Women Dismantling Militarism, so I organized a workshop entitled, “Transnational Feminist Organizing to Resist Militarism and Empire,” with grantees from Colombia, Brazil and Guam. Lisa Natividad from the Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice talked about the planned transfer of 8,000 U.S. marines from Okinawa to Guam, and the devastating impact that the transfer will have on their already heavily militarized island. “What does the legacy of militarism mean for Guam mean?” Lisa asked. “Poor health outcomes and short lives due to the toxicity caused by the [U.S.] military base.” Gwyn Kirk, co-founder of the International Women’s Network Against Militarism talked about how militarism is used to rape women, inflict violence on people, contaminate the environment, and strip farmers and peasants of their land and sovereignty. Alessandra Ceregetti from the World March of Women, an international feminist grassroots movement working to end poverty and violence against women, talked about how they promote peace and demilitarization. “War, conflict, militarization are expressions of violence that are not natural,” Alessandra said, “but generated by the system.”
But the U.S. military doesn’t just impact people abroad. Tomorrow, I’ll write about how it impacts us right here at home.